The Legislature’s Transportation Committee has voted against endorsing a slate of bills that would have changed or eliminated Maine’s motor vehicle safety inspection program.

That means the required annual safety inspection and windshield sticker that comes with it are likely to stay. The annual inspection mandate is a regular target for repeal, but the committee and Legislature have regularly rejected these efforts. Maine is among 16 states that require safety inspections.

The bills were heard by the committee during a public hearing last week.

Maine’s program raises about $3.5 million yearly for the state’s highway fund, but opponents say there’s no clear evidence the inspections make the state’s roads any safer, and critics say the requirement allows unscrupulous mechanics to charge for unnecessary repairs.

Supporters of the law, including the Maine State Police, say the annual inspections save lives by identifying safety problems in vehicles and requiring they be corrected.

The committee voted Wednesday against four bills ranging from eliminating the sticker requirement for vehicles less than 20 years old to extending the inspection period from one year to two. A bill to study the program and the $12.50 fee charged by licensed inspection stations was also rejected by the committee with an, “ought not to pass” vote.

The bills will still go to the full Legislature for consideration, but with the committee recommending against passage they have little likelihood of passage and may not even be debated.

The committee unanimously rejected a similar set of bills in 2019.

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